- Sleep Aids
- Sleep Health
- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Resources
Sleep apnea patients can choose from a wide range of sleep masks. Some masks cover most or all of the face; these models often include a chinstrap to keep the mouth closed, which helps prevent irregular breathing and heavy snoring. Other, less invasive mask types cover less area and do not include a chinstrap; although these masks often provide effective CPAP therapy, many sleepers struggle with snoring and breathing problems because their mouths won’t remain closed.
For this reason, a CPAP chinstrap – usually sold separately from the mask – is a good investment for people with sleep apnea. These chinstraps are interchangeable with different mask types, and may also be used for other types of PAP therapy, such as bi-level PAP (BiPAP) or automatic PAP (APAP).
This guide looks at chinstrap designs, features, and price expectations. We’ll also discuss other buying concerns, such as warranty coverage and prescription requirements. Below, you’ll find our top three picks for CPAP chinstraps sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research.
Adjustability is a major factor with CPAP chinstraps; most models come in two to three sizes at most, and those with limited adjustment may not be suitable for certain wearers based on their facial dimensions.
The Topaz Adjustable Chinstrap is constructed with thick straps that provide full coverage. Hook-and-loop closures at the crown of the head and base of the neck allow most users to find a suitable fit.
The strap comes in two adjustable sizes: a Standard that can be adjusted between 22″ and 25″ long; and an Extra Large that can be adjusted between 26″ and 28″ long. The straps and chinguard are made from soft, stretchy neoprene for added breathability.
The ideal CPAP chinstrap should be strong enough to keep the mouth closed without stretching excessively or feeling too tight around the head. Our Runner-Up Pick, the ResMed Style Chin Strap, is a great example.
The product has soft, non-elastic neoprene straps that are exceptionally breathable. The chinguard is made from a soft and durable cotton-nylon blend; the material cradles the chin and keeps the jaw in place very nicely. A hook-and-loop closure at the top of the head allows for easy adjusting, as well.
Unstretched, the ResMed Style CPAP Chin Strap measures 27″ long, making it suitable for most adult men and women. It is also low-priced compared to similar straps, and widely available for less than $16.
Unlike many competing CPAP chinstraps, this model from Respironics is designed to attach to CPAP headgear that wraps the forehead; a hook-and-loop closure at each end allows wearers to adjust the fit based on their head/jaw size, as well as their headgear’s dimensions.
This results in a more comfortable fit for many CPAP users; excessive pressure is a common complaint among those who wear chinstraps that wrap the entire head. The Respironics Chinstrap can be used with any CPAP mask.
The chinstrap is made from an ultra-stretchy blend of nylon and spandex. The material is very durable, and won’t stretch out too much even after repeated use. The mask measures 24″ long, with a 1″ width along the head and a wide chinstrap that measures up to 7″ thick in some places for added support.
Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, a medical condition characterized by temporary loss of breath during the night; apnea episodes may occur due to physical obstructions and/or improper signals between the brain and breathing muscles. Many people with sleep apnea also snore heavily. Continuous positive air pressure, or CPAP, is a commonly prescribed therapy used to treat sleep apnea symptoms. The therapy consists of an airflow generator that humidifies and pressurizes air, then delivers it to sleepers through a connective hose and breathing mask.
CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP machines hook up to face masks and deliver air through a connective hose. The masks are interchangeable between the two machine types, but are usually referred to simply as ‘CPAP masks.’ Unlike full face CPAP masks, which cover the entire nose and mouth, nasal CPAP masks deliver cover the nose only.
As a result, some nasal CPAP mask wearers sleep with their mouths open – but open-mouth sleeping can have an adverse effect on CPAP therapy. To ensure their CPAP therapy is effective, nasal CPAP mask users who sleep with their mouths open often use adjustable chinstraps to keep their mouth closed.
A wide range of chinstrap styles and designs are available, and most cost less than $40. This guide will look at the benefits of using a CPAP mask chinstrap, common design features, important tips for shoppers, and our picks for the top-rated CPAP chinstrap models.
People sleep with their mouths open for different reasons. For many it is a natural sleep position, but certain conditions — such as a deviated septum or nasal congestion — may also be the primary cause.
Sleeping with one’s mouth open during CPAP therapy is detrimental for two reasons.
Some common chinstrap designs include:
When choosing a CPAP chinstrap, buyers should take their breathing mask into account. The table below breaks down the three most common mask types, and discusses which ones are most/least suitable for a chinstrap.
|Mask Type||Full Face||Nasal Cradle||Nasal Pillow|
|Appearance||The mask forms a tight seal extending from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the mouth.||The mask forms a tight seal extending from the bridge of the nose to the upper lip.||The mask fits into both nares, or nostril openings, and extends from the tip of the nose to the upper lip.|
|Headgear and closures||Straps wrap the side of the head; stability straps may also support the crown of the head. Hook-and-loop closures are most common.||Straps extend along the sides of the face, and usually have a hook-and-loop closure at the top. Some also have headgear that connects at the back of the neck for added jaw support.||Straps extend across the cheeks and connect in the back or at the top of the head, usually with hook-and-loop closures. Additional headgear is rare.|
|Chinstrap needed?||Probably not. Because they extend to the bottom of the mouth, many full face masks keep the mouth closed on their own. Plus, these masks tend to be bulky; fitting a chinstrap beneath the mask may be too invasive for some.||Most likely. These masks do not cover any part of the jaw, meaning the sleeper is likely to open their mouth during the night. However, some nasal cradle masks have supportive headgear that helps close the mouth.||Almost certainly. Nasal pillow masks are the least invasive mask type, leaving the mouth and jaw vulnerable during the night. Chinstraps fit easily beneath the headgear, as well.|
|Average mask price range||$80 to $150||$80 to $110||$50 to $75|
Important chinstrap/mask factors include the following:
The best CPAP chinstraps will help maintain proper CPAP/BiPAP air pressure and prevent dry mouth symptoms. They can also help minimize the chronic snoring associated with sleep apnea, since people who sleep with their mouths open are more likely to snore.
Chinstraps are also a convenient, low-cost workaround for individuals who cannot afford a CPAP full face mask; these masks often cost between $100 and $150. Additionally, a chinstrap is useful for people who are unable to train themselves to sleep with their mouths closed, which can be a difficult undertaking.
Please note that, unlike CPAP machines and masks, CPAP chinstraps do not require a doctor’s prescription to purchase.
When shopping for a new CPAP chinstrap and comparing different brands and models, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Lastly, a shopper’s prescription status is an important factor to consider when choosing a chinstrap. In the next section, we’ll break down some common questions about CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP prescriptions.
In this section, we’ll answer some common questions about prescription requirements for CPAP chinstraps.
No. Shoppers do not need a doctor’s prescription to legally purchase a CPAP chinstrap. These products are widely available over the counter.
However, many CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP components require a prescription. These include the airflow generator, humidifier, and any type of breathing mask; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorizes these products as Class II medical devices and regulates how and when they are sold. Merchants who sell Class II medical devices must receive FDA approval to do so; legally, they can only sell these items to buyers with a valid prescription.
A chinstrap on its own may effectively minimize snoring and reduce apnea-related breathing episodes to some degree. However, those who wish to use their chinstrap in tandem with CPAP, BiPAP, or APAP therapy must have a prescription.
Shoppers must receive a sleep apnea diagnosis before they can obtain a prescription for FDA-regulated CPAP machines, humidifiers, and breathing masks. At least one of the following certified professionals must provide the initial diagnosis:
Sellers frequently do not accept prescriptions from other types of physicians. These include chiropractors, optometrists, and psychologists.
The diagnostic procedure varies by patient and physician. The prescribing physician often issues a home sleep test (HST) for patients to use in their bedroom; after the test is complete, the patient sends the results to the physician. Alternatively, the prescribing physician may refer the patient to a sleep specialist; these specialists may also issue an HST, or conduct the more intensive procedure known as the polysomnography sleep test, which records brain waves, eye movements, and other sleeper data.
Polysomnography is the more invasive option, but many HSTs yield inconclusive results. For this reason, many sleep apnea patients complete an HST and at least one round of polysomnography.
A prescription that specifically covers a CPAP mask must include the following
For a more in-depth look at these requirements, please visit our CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP Prescriptions guide.
For some people with sleep apnea, CPAP therapy and its variants do not effectively alleviate apnea-related breathing episodes or snoring symptoms – with or without a chinstrap. Those living with sleep apnea may find relief through other means, including other devices, medical procedures, and lifestyle changes.
Mandibular advancement devices (MADs): MADs are anti-snoring mouthpieces designed to fit snugly inside the wearer’s lower jaw (also known as their mandible). The mouthpiece forces the jaw forward, which helps expand the airway and prevent the sleeper from snoring excessively.
Many MADs are ‘boil-and-bite’ models; buyers boil them in water at home, then bite into the material to form a permanent impression. Other MAD models require customized fitting; the buyer creates an impression at home, then sends it to the manufacturer. In either case, most MADs are available over-the-counter without a prescription.
Tongue retaining devices (TRDs): TRDs, like MADs, are anti-snoring mouthpieces, but they work a little differently. TRDs use a suction device to pull the tongue forward, away from the throat, which helps the airway expand without obstruction. TRDs generally resemble baby pacifiers; they rarely need custom-fitting, and almost never require a prescription.
Provent: Provent therapy is a newer sleep apnea treatment option; it is FDA-approved. The therapy consists of two small valves that are placed inside each nostril using a non-toxic, hypoallergenic adhesive. The valves open during inhalation, then close during exhalation; this results in easier breathing without pressurized air. Provent therapy requires a prescription.
Oral surgery: In sleep apnea cases with severe symptoms, oral surgery may be the most suitable option. Several types of oral surgery can help alleviate apnea-related breathing episodes and heavy snoring.
These include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), during which the uvula is removed to reinforce the soft palate; genioglossus advancement (GGA), which stretches the tongue’s tendons to permanently prevent airway blockage; and maxillomandibular advancement (MMA), which realigns the angle of the upper and lower jaw, along with the soft palate.
Oral surgery can be very expensive, and should only be considered if other, less invasive measures prove unsuccessful.
Consider side sleeping: Side sleeping is considered the best sleep position for people with sleep apnea. The sleeper’s tongue falls away from the throat, making it less likely to block the airway, and this allows the esophagus to expand properly.
Back sleeping, on the other hand, is considered the worst position for sleep apnea; many back sleepers use a pillow to elevate their heads, and this can cause the tongue to block the airway. Stomach sleeping may also be suitable for people with sleep apnea. However, most sleep experts discourage people from stomach sleeping because it is associated with more neck and shoulder pain than the other positions.
Buy an adjustable bed: Although adjustable beds tend to be expensive, they can be a solid investment for heavy snorers and other sleepers with apnea-related issues.
Adjustable beds are designed to elevate at the head; some also elevate at the foot. Internal motors allow owners to adjust the elevation angle to different settings; those who experience severe snoring may find the highest angles are more suitable. Many adjustable beds are also split down the middle for couples with different angling preferences.
Some adjustable beds are available for about $1,000 in a Queen size, but most models cost at least $2,000 in the same size. For more information about these products, check out our Adjustable Bed Buying Guide.
Find the right pillow loft: A pillow’s loft, or thickness, has a significant impact on sleep apnea symptoms and sleep health in general. Pillows that are excessively thick or excessively thin can cause the tongue to fall back into the throat. Pillows are also closely tied to neck and shoulder pain, as well as spinal alignment for side sleepers.
Pillow loft is divided into three general categories: low loft (thinner than 3″); medium loft (3″ to 5″); and high loft (thicker than 5″). The best loft for a given sleeper depends on his or her preferred position and mattress firmness, as well as physiological factors like head size, shoulder width, and body weight.
The table below lists optimal loft settings based on this criteria. However, every sleeper has different preferences and needs; they may find their ideal loft falls outside these parameters. Keep in mind these findings are subjective; the best way to find the right loft is to test out pillows with different thickness measurements.
|Loft Level||Thickness Range||Optimal Head Size||Optimal Sleeper Weight||Optimal Shoulder Width||Optimal Mattress Firmness|
|Low||Less than 3"||Small||More than 230 lbs.||Narrow||Soft to Medium Soft|
|Medium||3" to 5"||Average||130 to 230 lbs.||Average||Medium Soft to Medium Firm|
|High||More than 5"||Large||Less than 130 lbs.||Broad||Medium Firm to Firm|
The Mayo Clinic notes that certain lifestyle changes can help reduce apnea-related symptoms, including heavy snoring. These changes include the following: